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||Sun Protection - ABC's
Most people know that excessive sun exposure leads to early aging of the skin and increased risk of skin cancer.
PROTECT CHILDREN, 80% of total lifetime sun exposure is acquired by age 18, it is critical that sun protection begin early in childhood, helping the formation of a lifetime habit. The simple ABC's of Sun protection for children, as outline by the American Academy of Dermatology are as follows:
Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day.
The sun's rays are more intense between 10 am – 4pm. Seek shade in play areas, and if not available, bring shade to sports activities. (For example, put a trap over an uncovered dugout for softball or baseball games). Keep infants out of direct sun as much as possible during the first months of life.
Use Sunscreen regularly
Use a water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 that blocks both Ultraviolet (UV) A and B. Those containing avobenzone (Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide or zinc oxide have more broad-spectrum UVA protection. Read the labels carefully to ensure the product has the ingredients you want.
Apply sunscreen at least a half-hour before sun exposure; the best strategy is to put sunscreen on your child (and yourself) in the morning before leaving the house. Slather or Spray sunscreen liberally onto any skin that may be exposed during the day. (Don't forget the ears and back of the neck). Reapply every two to three hours, especially if engaged in active outdoor activity.
C. COVER UP
Wear hats and protective clothing
Encourage your child to wear hats, ling pants, and shirts with long sleeves when playing outdoors. Buying him or her a special baseball cap or surfer hat sometimes helps. If your child is fair and burns easily, tightly woven clothing should also be worn outdoors, even while swimming. Special long sleeved swim shirts are available on line and in some drug stores. Children should also wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun.
S. SPEAK OUT
Talk to your friends and family members about good sun protection habits. Advocate for sun protection in your community (e.g. Providing shade in public parks and schools). Educate yourself about sun protection and skin cancer prevention.
Other facts you should know about the sun and sun protection:
1. Set an example for your child
Though you may have "baked" yourself as a teenager, you can prevent further sun damage and minimize skin cancer risk now by using simple measures to protect your own skin, it is more likely that your child will also adopt good skin care habits.
REMEMBER: KIDS LEARN BY EXAMPLE
2. Examine your child's and your own skin regularly
Watch your skin for new spots or growths, non-healing sores, changes in moles, or new colored areas. Skin cancer is extremely rare in children and uncommon in teenagers, but concern for the health of skin can be taught to children early. Unfortunately, skin cancer is not so rare in adults who are relatively young (thirties, forties), especially fair-skinned people who had a lot of sun exposure during childhood.
3. Don't avoid sunscreen use because of acne or sensitive skin
There are a wide variety of sunscreens for all skin types. Look for non-comedogenic (won't block pores) on the label. Wax sticks can be used above the eyes if running/stinging is a problem.
4. Learn about Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is based on duration, not protection: i.e. an individual who might burn in 10 minutes without protection will be able to stay out 15 times longer or 150 minutes before burning. A 30, will allow you to stay in the sun 300 minutes, 45 for 450 minutes and so on, but read the label, "reapply after excessive sweating, swimming or toweling", so a SPF 30 will protect just as well as a 45.
Extra protection from higher SPF's is misleading: for example and SPF 15 blocks 95% UVB rays, and SPF 30 blocks 98%, nothing blocks 100%.
UVB, sunburn rays, are the primary promoter of light induced skin cancer. UVA rays are the primary cause of photo aging (skin wrinkles, broken blood vessels and freckles), cataracts in the eye and photosensitivity. Don't be fooled, 80% of the sun's rays reach the earth on a cloudy day.